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New apartments for Ukrainian and Afghan families

An empty office block in Newbury has been transformed into apartments for families in housing need - including Afghan and Ukrainian nationals who have fled conflict in their home countries.

Posted by: Communications team on 09 July 2024 09:00
External view of West Point House

An empty office block in Newbury has been transformed into apartments for families in housing need - including Afghan and Ukrainian nationals who have fled conflict in their home countries.

The work has been undertaken as part of a wider project by West Berkshire Council to provide 27 homes across the district for families who have arrived through national resettlement schemes.  West Point House was empty and surplus to requirements by the Council and has now been converted into five separate units - a one-bed apartment and four three-bed apartments.

The apartments will also be used to provide homes for some local families in need of housing and who are currently being supported by West Berkshire Council.

The building work is set to be completed within the next week and the apartments will then be furnished with the new tenants expected to move in later this month.

Speaking about the project, Councillor Denise Gaines, Executive Member for Housing, said:

"It's been wonderful to watch these empty offices transform into five new apartments for families in need of a place to call home. It will give them a sense of belonging and a place of their own as they continue to rebuild their lives in West Berkshire. Having visited recently the apartments look great and I hope the new tenants will be very happy there."

Councillor Gaines was recently joined by the Leader of West Berkshire Council, Councillor Jeff Brooks, and others on a tour of the building. You can take a look inside West Point House, and Councillor Gaines' reaction to the work in this new video.

West Berkshire Council worked with Ridge and Partners LLP - who have an office in Theale - on the plans for the apartments. They managed the feasibility of the scheme, proposed layouts, planning stages and supervised the works on site. The disciplines involved included Architecture, Building Services, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Cost Management, Contract Administration, and Health and Safety.

Commenting on the project, Ridge and Partners said:

"It's been fantastic to be part of a new chapter for West Point House and give the building a new lease of life by re-using the existing Council asset and developing it to suit the current housing needs. The homes created will be centrally located in Newbury close to all the available town amenities. The exterior and fabric of the building have been upgraded to better meet more up to date energy requirements and provide sustainable homes through the inclusion of air source heat pumps and roof mounted solar panels. The existing glazing provide wonderful views across Newbury from the new living spaces.

"It's been a pleasure working with West Berkshire Council and we hope this project illustrates the benefit of re-using existing building, where practical."

Once the resettlement schemes have concluded and tenants have moved into permanent accommodation, these apartments will become part of West Berkshire Council's temporary housing supply.

The overarching project to deliver all 27 homes is due to be completed in the next few weeks. The housing project is being part-funded by central Government through its Local Authority Housing Fund. It was set up to help councils manage the impact on its housing services when supporting displaced families arriving in the UK. The overall cost of the project to deliver the 27 homes (and which includes the costs of redeveloping West Point House) is £9m, with West Berkshire Council allocated a £3.6m contribution from national funding.

Recently the Leader and Deputy Leader of West Berkshire Council, Chief Executive and others involved in the project attended West Point House to see the work being done.

Interior view of West Point House

L-R: Councillor Jeff Brooks (Leader of West Berkshire Council), Councillor Denise Gaines (Deputy Leader of West Berkshire Council), Councillor Iain Cottingham (Executive Member for Finance and Resources), Joseph Holmes (Executive Director - Resources) and Richard Turner (Property Services Manager)

Interior view of West Point House

Interior view of West Point House

Interior view of West Point House

Interior view of West Point House

Interior view of West Point House

External view of West Point House

Last modified: 05 July 2024 13:42

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